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MiG-31 fighters can carry nuclear-capable hypersonic Kinzhal missiles (Photo:Tom_1982/Flickr)
After the monitoring group Belarusian Hajun reported that three Russian MiG-31K fighters were leaving the territory of Belarus on April 6, Radio NV asked military expert and Ukrainian army reserve Colonel Roman Svitan why Russia is moving its aircraft around.
These particular MiGs can carry nuclear-capable hypersonic Kinzhal missiles, which have a 2,000 kilometer range that covers the whole of Ukraine, and which Ukraine lacks the means to shoot down.
That means that whenever one is seen taking to the air in Belarus or nearby air bases in Russia, it triggers a countrywide air-raid alert.
There is some evidence that the Kremlin takes advantage of this Ukrainian response – it triggered an alert in Ukraine on Feb. 20 almost to the second when U.S. President Joe Biden started a walkabout in central Kyiv during his visit to Ukraine.
But today’s movement, of MiGs from Belarus to Russia, unusually did not trigger a nationwide alert. What, then, is going on?
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“They will be withdrawing their aircraft from locations that are close to the border with Ukraine or the front line,” says Svitan.
“They are well aware that we have certain weapons of destruction — like drones. They definitely don’t want to lose their MiG-31Ks, which are few and far between, and they only have a handful of Kinzhal carriers.”
The expert assumes that they will be moved to the Shaikovka airfield, located in the west of Kaluga Oblast, near Smolensk Oblast of Russia.
“They are hiding their planes from our killer (drones),” Svitan added.
Several MiG-31Ks have been based at airfields in Belarus since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces.
The regular take-offs of MiGs from Ukraine shows the enemy is trying to keep Ukrainians nervous, the Ukrainian Air Force has said.
But if Svitan is to be believed, it is the Russians who are nervous now